Da Legal Stuff...

All commentaries published on Web Talk are the opinions of the contributor(s) only and do not necessarily represent the position of any other individuals, groups or organizations.

Now, with that out of the way...Let's Web Talk.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

"Nobody’s paying attention so it doesn’t matter"

As Thomas Jefferson once said, "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance".

Unfortunately, as individuals in nations such as Libya, Egypt and elsewhere offer up their lives for the opportunity to cast a ballot, in Canada we’ve very cunningly been led to a place where voting is something we avoid like the plague and the term “election” has become a dirty word.

Has Stephen Harper tossed aside the Jefferson approach to democracy in favor the Nixon playbook?

There are those who might be tempted to accuse this writer of crossing the line with such a statement but who is it that's actually crossed the line?

When, for example, did such self serving statements as, “…nobody’s paying attention so it doesn’t matter…” become a valid reason for rampant political acts of fraud, forgery and deceit?

I’m not sure anyone can actually pinpoint a specific date on the calendar, yet here we are.

I’ve been around long enough to know that politicians and parties have participated in underhanded acts since the dawn of time, but anyone who’s been following the Canadian political debate of late has witnessed a monumental shift from the age old secretive acts of deception to outright pride in the ability to pull a fast one.

Today the attitude appears to be that it’s OK as long as nobody notices.

As citizens we can waste our time blaming the politicians themselves if we choose but the reality, regardless of the level moral bankruptcy on display in Ottawa, is that most Canadians truly aren’t paying attention and the Nation’s leaders are getting away with it. In the dog eat dog world of politics those running for public office would be laughed out of their respective caucus rooms if they failed to take advantage of this fact and to promote this public inattention. It's sad but true.

The current attitued among Conservative party members can only be described as one of taking pride in their utter disrespect, even disdain, for every man, woman and child from sea to sea to sea.

There’s no doubt that all sides of the political spectrum are fully capable of underhanded acts, but anyone who has sat through even one interview with a Conservative MP, Senator, spin doctor or pundit lately will have lost count of the number of times they’ve been boldly told that “…nobody cares about it…” or “…it doesn’t matter because nobody is paying attention…”.

How sad is the state of our political system when a sitting government is comfortable relying on such platitudes without making even a feeble attempt to explain their actions?

In the past few months alone a sitting government Minister altered a document after it was signed off on by officials, 4 high ranking Conservative party members are facing criminal charges, Elections Canada and the courts have found the Conservative party guilty of nothing less than election fraud for “laundering” hundreds of thousands of dollars during the last election and the Speaker of the House has ruled against the government for refusing to provide financial information required by the Commons and for misleading Parliament.

Through it all, the only explanation offered by anyone on the Harper government payroll is to repeat the mantra of, “…nobody cares…” or “...it doesn’t matter because nobody is paying attention…”.

The saddest part about this shift in political tactics is that it’s actually working.

Clearly those who brush aside concerns about such reprehensible acts show how little respect they have for Canada’s political system, not to mention the public, but they are not wrong, at least when they say nobody is paying attention. People aren’t and as a result they are indeed getting away with it.

The attitude of today’s political elite allow them to downplay their illegal and/or immoral acts and serves the agenda of increasing the level of voter apathy across Canada. A reality that few can argue when you realize that during the last federal election slightly more than 58% of eligible voters actually went to the polls. The result: the Conservative Party formed government with only 37% support. Thanks to their ability to encourage their core supporters while reinforcing the feelings of apathy among those who don’t lean to the Right.

With the state of our political situation one might well expect voter turnout in the upcoming election to drop even lower. Not because nobody wants an election (another tag line popular in Conservative circles) but because the very act of disrespect that comprises the thrust of this article has, quite intentionally, left so many people with a bad taste in their mouths.

In this light, it’s not a stretch to say that the Conservative Party of Canada isn’t actually running a campaign against the Liberals, the NDP or the Bloc, but against the citizens of Canada.

(As a side note for readers in Newfoundland and Labrador, Fabian Manning has apparently decided to run for the seat in Avalon. You remember Fabian right? He's the one who, when last sent to Ottawa, stood beside PM Harper in the House of Commons cheering, laughing and clapping as the PM ridiculed the Province Manning was elected to represent over its demands that he live by his promises on the Atlantic Accord. Welcome back Fabian.)


Anonymous said...

Myles you are right on the money. This attitude by many journalists and or people in the public eye regarding the statement "Canadians doen't care" is really sick. How can a government be so brash, bold and brazen? Well, and I am sick to have to write this.... after all is said and done, we Canadians are allowing this situation to take place. ASME

NL-ExPatriate said...

Silence is acceptance!